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Raising a child costs money, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. But how much of an effect does it really have on your bank balance? Well, surveys in the UK suggest that feeding, clothing and entertaining a child can cost over £9000 each year; that’s more than £150,000 until they head off to university, and even then you might still find you’re being guilt tripped into buying groceries!
These are exorbitant costs for any parent, but even more so for parents who have made the decision to stay at home and raise a family rather than returning to the workplace. The number of stay at home Mums, and indeed stay at home Dads, is increasing in the UK for a number of reasons, including the rising costs of childcare which now average £40 per day per child. At these rates, many salaries could be entirely wiped out by nursery fees alone.
However, being a stay at home parent needn’t be an impossible aspiration. Can children cost £9000 per year? Yes. Do they need to cost £9000 per year? No! There are savings to be made in almost every aspect of raising a child. Children don’t mind if their food is purchased with vouchers, they won’t notice if they’re wearing secondhand clothes, and they’re not embarrassed to be seen enjoying free activities! If you want to save money on everyday childcare, here’s how:
Cloth nappies were all the rage at one point, but use diminished with the introduction of disposables which were praised for their convenience. However, cloth nappies are significantly less expensive. In fact, the cost of 1 nappy lasting a lifetime costs the same as about 3 days worth of disposables! If you’re worried about the mess, don’t be! Companies such as Go Real and Cottontails now offer nappy services which collect soiled cloths and replace them with freshly laundered nappies. Or if you’re feeling brave, cloth nappies alone can be purchased from most supermarkets for roughly £2 each. Here’s a little hint: Hold a soiled nappy in the toilet basin and flush to get the worst of the dirt off before putting it through the wash (just remember to wear gloves!).
|Cost Each||£ 0.15||£ 2.00|
|Cost Per Year*||£ 275.75||£ 10.00**|
|Annual Saving:||£ £265.75!|
* Based on 5 changes per day
**Based on a 2 day stock of nappies
Buying secondhand clothing is a great money saving tip, especially during your baby’s first year when they typically outgrow outfits every 3 months. As tempting as it is to go crazy buying cute baby clothes from the shops, there’s a good chance that your baby will wear the outfit once, or even not at all! For this reason, many secondhand outfits in sizes up to 12 months are in almost brand new condition, with some even having the tags on! Your local car boot sales are a good place to start bargain hunting, or stake out your nearest NCT Nearly New Sale. Many items from popular high street stores can be purchased for less than £1.
|New Clothes||Secondhand Clothes|
|Cost Each||£ 10.00||£ 2.00|
|Cost Per Year*||£ 240.00||£ 48.00|
|Annual Saving:||£ 192.00!|
*Based on two new outfits per month
Nappy companies, baby wipe manufacturers, baby food businesses, they all want your custom. Coupons are one of the best marketing techniques used to bring in new business as it gives consumers a chance to try out an item for a reduced price, or even for free, essentially getting them hooked and charging full price next time. Hospitals now give out Bounty Packs to new Mums which contain a number of samples and coupons, and it’s a good idea to sign up for newsletters from companies such as Huggies and Cow & Gate who frequently send out vouchers for money off their products. Ask friends or family members to sign up, too. Work it right, and you could significantly reduce the amount you spend on feeding and changing your child.
|Full Price Jars||Discounted Jars|
|Cost Each||£ 0.89||£ 0.69**|
|Cost Per Year*||£ 974.55||£ 901.55***|
|Annual Saving:||£ £73.00!|
* Based on 3 meals per day
** Based on average 20p off coupon
***Based on 1 day a week using discounted foods
Being a new Mum can be quite lonely at times, but there’s plenty of mother and baby groups around. The trick is to look around a bit and find some that are free - they do exist! Many groups charge a pound or two which covers hall rental and refreshments, some even charge up to £5 per hour! Check out local churches, they often have volunteers (usually other Mums) who put on a sing song or offer some toys for little ones to play with while Mum has a coffee and a biscuit - for free! Groups in churches are a bit of a double whammy, as many parishioners donate unwanted kids clothes to the groups.
|Paid Groups||Free Groups|
|Cost Each||£ 2.00||£ 0.00|
|Cost Per Year*||£ 208.00||£ 0.00|
|Annual Saving:||£ 208.00!|
*Based on 2 groups per week
Whether you’ve got a newborn, or your child has just celebrated a birthday, you’re probably noticing that people are very generous when it comes to kids. This could mean you end up with a wardrobe full to bursting with sleepsuits in size 0-3 months, or more jeans than your 2 year old will ever get through. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with exchanging for bigger sizes that your child will grow into. While it’s easier if you have a gift receipt, if an item very clearly comes from a specific store, many will exchange the item without any hassle even if you don’t have the receipt. By doing this, you could be clothing your child for an entire year, rather than just a month or two.
|Cost Each||£ 10.00||£ 2.00**|
|Cost Per Year*||£ 240.00||£ 72.00***|
|Annual Saving:||£ 168.00!|
* Based on 2 new outfits per month
** Based on the average charge for exchanging to a bigger size
***Based on 6 outfits exchanged per year
That’s a total annual saving of £906.75! It may not completely cancel out the estimated £9000 per year costs, but saving 10% just from using these 5 simple tips is a brilliant start. These are just a handful of ways you can save money, too. Keep an eye out for other easy money saving methods, there’s thousands of ways you can keep both your kids and your bank account happy and healthy!